WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Sen. R.C. Soles has introduced yet another bill that needs some explanation. Last week, Soles proposed a bill to split the 13th judicial district. That bill caused some concern because it virtually guarantees a Democrat would be appointed district attorney for Columbus County, where Soles lives. Now the senator is trying to create another judgeship.
Senate Bill 1408 would divide Brunswick county into superior court districts 13-B and 13-C. District 13-B would be filled by the current superior court judge, and the governor would appoint a judge for 13-C. It just so happens that Soles's long-time friend, outgoing District Attorney Rex Gore, lives in Shallotte, which is part of the proposed district 13-C.
Current superior court judge Ola Lewis told WWAY she has been asking Soles for help splitting the district since 2006. When asked what she thought about the timing of the bill, Lewis said, "I'm not concerned with the reason why, but I'm glad that someone is paying attention to the growth rate. If the bill passes, I hope the governor will appoint a hardworking, qualified individual with integrity."
The chair of the Democratic Party in Brunswick County, Donna Silva, is crying foul. She says there's no reason for the split, especially in such a tight economy.
In a statement Silva said, "I'm by no means a squeaky-clean 'good government' purist. Having been involved in partisan politics for many years, I recognize that 'deals' often have to be made to advance the public interest. But a vast gulf separates the public interest from what on its face seems, in this case, to be an act of blatant cronyism. We need to bring an end to the good-old-boy, you scratch-my-back-and I'll-scratch yours political environment that has for too long made our citizens distrust all government."
Neither Soles nor Gore returned our calls for comment today.